SeaWorld sees jump in attendance, reaches 'Blackfish' settlement

Orlando-based park sees increase in revenue in 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld may be turning a corner.

In an earnings report released Monday, the Orlando-based theme park said total revenue and attendance was up more than 8 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to the same time frame last year.

Attendance was up nearly 5 percent in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 2017.

"We are pleased with our strong second quarter financial results and the continued momentum we see in the business," said John Reilly, Interim Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment. "The results were driven by our new strategic pricing strategies, new marketing and communications initiatives and the positive reception of our new rides, attractions and events.”

SeaWorld also announced that it has reached a tentative, $4 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over accusations the company misled investors about the impact the documentary "Blackfish" had on park attendance and revenue.

As part of the proposed settlement, SeaWorld will not admit or deny the allegations.

The SEC action is separate from an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice criminal fraud investigation and class-action shareholder lawsuit that also involve accusations that SeaWorld executives intentionally withheld information about how the 2013 film was hurting the company.


About the Authors:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.